St. Augustine' s Northbourne
Northbourne Village and its History
The parish of Northbourne and Betteshanger with Ham is a large rural parish in the former Kent Coalfield. There is a Church of England primary school and a private preparatory school; the latter recently took over the redundant church of Betteshanger as a school chapel.
With the closure of the coal mines and the decline in agriculture, most people commute out of the parish for work, shopping and leisure, although some of this trend may be reversed with the opening of a business and country park on the former Betteshanger colliery site.
There are three main centres of community - Northbourne village, Finglesham and Betteshanger Circle - a housing area built for the colliery. Northbourne has a village hall and Betteshanger a community centre.
St. Augustine's Church History
The church of St. Augustine still retains its original cross or cruciform plan and has hardly been altered since it was built, in the Norman style nearly nine hundred years ago.
This beautiful old church has a long history and is on the site of one of the oldest places of Christian worship in England. St. Augustine landed at Ebbsfleet, some 5 miles away, in AD597. In 6l8 Eadbald, newly crowned King of Kent, gave land at Northbourne (thirty ploughs worth) to St. Augustine's Abbey in Canterbury.
Records show that a church was built at this time, this was superseded by a further and larger Anglo Saxon church built on the same site. Almost certainly some of the fragments of masonry of these earlier churches, including "Barley Twist" mouldings can be seen built into the wall of the present church, built about AD 1120.